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Part 1: 3 Types of Sexless Marriages in the Bible

by Patsy Rae Dawson ~

A mistake I’ve made along with many of my readers plus most Internet and book writers is not realizing the Bible reveals 3 types of sexless marriages and dead bedrooms with 3 different ways to turn the marriage into a loving union.

We understand the emotional and physical pain and misery of being married to what I’ve called a “sexual dud.” But the label “sexual dud” reflects the mistake many of us have made. The problem is much more complex than just being married to a dud whose hangups, sexual timidness, and mechanical responses are sapping the love out of the relationship.

I’ve taught on the 3 levels of sin and 3 levels of restoration in regard to spouse abuse. Going through training at two women’s shelters opened my eyes to that truth.

clustered love sins in sexless marriages and dead bedrooms
clustered love sins in sexless marriages and dead bedrooms

But I failed to make the application to sexless marriages because I didn’t know enough about the full spectrum of clustered love sins in these marriages. Like others, I got the extreme cases of sexual addiction and serial adultery and teach on those in my book God’s People Make the Best Lovers. But I missed the clustered love sins that begin with the second type of sexless marriage and progress to thriving in the third type with a hardcore career sexual-depriver.

The missing puzzle pieces began to fall into place when a friend recommended I read Dr. Douglas Weiss’s book Intimacy Anorexia. It’s not a Bible-based book although Weiss talks about the spiritual relationship between a loving person and a sexual anorexic.

Because of my strong background in the scriptures regarding marriage and lovemaking, Weiss’s book allowed me to see the Song of Solomon in a new light. I recognized (1) Solomon’s depravity as a sexual addict and an intimacy anorexic, (2) the Shulammite maiden’s and the Shepherd’s healthy attitudes and upbringing that prepared them for a passionate marriage, and (3) I began to see the implications for all sexless marriages.

Jude 22-23 plainly teaches that all sin progresses through 3 stages and we have to treat each stage differently. A few days ago, an epiphany fell into place regarding the 3 levels or stages of sexless marriages. Notice the three stages that all sin progresses through:

Jude 22-23: "And have mercy on some who are [1] doubting; save others, snatching them out of the [2] fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment [3] polluted by the flesh."

The 3 Types of Sexless Marriages and Dead Bedrooms

Now let’s apply these two verses to the #1 googled marriage problem for both husbands and wives of sexless marriages and dead bedrooms. AARP surveys show sexless marriages continue to be a major problem among senior citizens who’ve spent a lifetime trying to deal with it. Weiss finds very little difference between men and women who withhold sexual love from their mate. Sexless marriages destroy homes and damage children.

Type 1: The “Doubting” Spouse

I ran into a classic doubting spouse soon after I began teaching the Song of Solomon when I accompanied my husband while he held gospel meeting. The first evening, an older couple invited us to dinner along with two newly married college students. Talk about a blushing bride--the young woman couldn't look anyone in the eye. If anyone tried to engage her in conversation, she held her head down the whole time and mumbled. Her extreme embarrassment made everyone uncomfortable.

The week-long meeting ended Sunday evening and the men asked me to teach the Song of Solomon that afternoon to their women. The new bride listened intently as I taught all eight chapters of the Song of Solomon drama in 1 hour. The two main points I emphasized were:

  1. God told the young couple, "Get married and get tipsy on lovemaking."
  2. The Shulammite maiden promised her Shepherd boyfriend, "When we get married, I'm going to initiate lovemaking...and I'm going to love your socks off."

We dismissed several hours before services.

That evening, the young husband told me, "I want to thank you for your class this afternoon. My wife came home and gave me a demonstration."

I've never run into such an extreme of a blushing bride since then. But I've observed many times that all a doubting spouse needs is some education from the Bible and life that God wants us to love passionate sex. And it doesn't take long before the doubting spouse is SPEAKING GOD'S BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE OF LOVE.

The doubting spouse has some hangups, sexual timidness, and mechanical responses

These problems often stem from a Victorian or abusive upbringing. The person doesn’t know God created passionate lovemaking for both men and women. Sometimes it’s someone who has lived a promiscuous life and assumes all sex is dirty. Doubting spouses are lacking intellectual love; and consequently don’t know how to yield their mind, emotions, and body to loving their mate for phenomenal sensations.

Most writings on the Internet on sexless marriages and dead bedrooms deal with the first level of misery—the doubting spouse

They assume the reluctant sexual partner just needs to be wooed into a better love life. While the world gives lip service to the role of the brain in ravishing sex, it lacks relevant instruction that makes a real difference.

As Christians, we show mercy to the doubting spouse by laying God’s beautiful sexual teachings alongside the world’s limited view of sex as taught by the two extremes—the Virginity and Hookup cultures. My three marriage books address the doubting spouse’s hangups and timidness while recognizing the brain as the most powerful sexual organ that eliminates clumsy techniques.

Just by the husband and wife reading these books and discussing the Study Exercises, many marriages in this first stage of sexless marriages have transformed. I recommend a couple start with The Song of Solomon Love Triangle to get a clear picture of how healthy sexual love looks, smells, sounds, feels, tastes, and acts. Then they can move to the other two books to round out their understanding and increase their pleasure.

But by themselves, these books are ineffective in the last two stages of dead bedrooms.

Type 2: The “Fire-Flirting” Spouse

This person has all the misconceptions of the doubting spouse with an added twist. This spouse has moved beyond ignorance into flirting with clustered love sins that affect everyone in the marriage—the mate, the children, and especially the fire-flirting spouse’s own sexual safety. We are to snatch this spouse out of the fire.

"Snatching" means "to seize, carry off by force, to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly, to snatch out or away" (Thayer 74).

The idea is someone touching a live electrical wire. The electricity can seize the person and hold him or her in its clutches. Rescuing a trapped person may require drastic measures such as grabbing a long wooden pole and whacking him or her hard enough to knock the person free of the current.

After snatching the person out of the fire, we must stomp the fire out so that it cannot smolder only to come back to life when we’ve let our guard down.

Christians usually make two serious mistakes with both fire-flirting and polluted sexless marriages

1. We don’t understand the clustered love sins that envelope the fire-flirting and polluted spouses. This is where Weiss opened my eyes just as going through the training at the women’s shelters let me recognize the three stages spouse abuse goes through.

2. Following the standard spiritual advice of “just submitting” or “trying harder” gives the fire-flirting and polluted spouses license to grow their clustered love sins. Sin never stagnates; it thrives on the mate submitting and trying harder. And we are in for decades of misery without ever understanding why our spouse doesn’t love us the way we love him or her.

So what works?

In The Song of Solomon Love Triangle, God’s Soulmating and Lovemaking Guide for a Lifetime of Passionate Sex, I share Stacey’s emails about how she transformed her sexless marriage. Her husband Joe was a fire-flirting spouse. Every time Stacey brought up their lack of intimacy, he reacted by calling her abusive names, breaking her things, and terrorizing the family. Fortunately, he still had many characteristics of a good husband and father. He had not yet entered the third level of total pollution by clustered love sins.

Stacey did two things

1. She read my books to learn for herself how to speak God’s beautiful language of love that transcends spoken words. Like typical spouses at this stage, Joe had no plans to change or to read my books or anyone else’s. In fact, during one of his rages, he destroyed Stacey's copies of my books. He preferred to bully Stacey into keeping their marriage as it was.

2. She followed my advice and bought my Challenges in Marriage: What to Do When Sin Inhibits Love audio classes. Then she began teaching Joe how to fight fair to stop his verbal and emotional abuse so they could stay on topic when they discussed their sex life. It takes only one person, either the husband or the wife, who learns the rules for fighting fair to totally change the course of arguments so that problems can be truly solved.

Joe didn't give up flirting with fire easily and threw everything he could at Stacey to get her to retreat to status quo. But when he finally agreed to study God’s People Make the Best Lovers with her, he changed into a “doubting” spouse whose heart was touchable. Stacey emailed:

“We did like you suggested and made sure to keep our problems out of our study and just have it be a time of learning together what God’s Word teaches about marriage. Your book was a real eye opener for both of us and it was a great catalyst for opening up the lines of communication. We both began to see how little we knew about God’s purposes for marriage and how neither of us ever had it modeled for us in our homes growing up. It paved the way for us to begin to share a new and deeper intimacy than we’d ever experienced before in our marriage!”

Stacey began this journey with Joe in 2007 or 2008. In 2015, she emailed me three and a half pages on “I can’t believe our happiness.” Not only did true love come into their lives, but Stacey and Joe’s children blossomed under the change in their parents. You can read her story from beginning to end in The Song of Solomon Love Triangle and see the power of God’s word to transform sexless marriages that flirt with fire.4-Gen Games

Type 3: The “Polluted” Spouse

"Polluted" means "to defile, spot, (a fault, moral blemish)" (Thayer 584).

"Garment" means "a tunic, an undergarment, usually worn next to the skin" (Thayer 669).

The English translation doesn't reveal that "garment" refers to an undergarment usually worn next to the skin. The idea is like a woman cooking in the kitchen. She expects to get a few spots on her apron and doesn't think too much about it. Yet if the spots go through to her blouse and continue through her slip to dirty her skin—something besides normal cooking is going on in her kitchen.

That’s the idea here. The polluted spouse is so stained with clustered love sins that even his or her undergarments are defiled. But the defilement doesn’t come from the outside like food bubbling vigorously in the kitchen. It comes from the inside—the polluted spouse’s own skin—from his or her heart.

The Type 3 sexless marriage is controlled by a manipulating hardcore career sexual-depriver

Polluted spouses are masters of weasel words—telling just enough truth to deflect questions about their conduct away from their sin. They are clever experts at blaming the mate for the sexless marriage to keep the mate from looking too closely at their behavior.

One wife asked her husband, who had been caught in multiple acts of long-term adultery, why he blamed her throughout decades of marriage.

Without hesitation, he said, “Because if I looked at myself, I was afraid I would discover a monster.” Before the divorce process was over, she saw the polluted garments of the monster for herself.

Here’s the problem for Christians

We are so inexperienced and naive about the characteristics of true love as taught in the Song of Solomon, we don’t recognize the clustered love sins when they are right in front of our eyes staining the outside of the polluted spouse’s garment. We don’t connect the dots of stain to see the monster.

Consequently, we don’t know what it means for us to “have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh."

We don’t know that if we don’t take care of these clustered love sins in our home, the stains will splash onto us and our children to defile everyone.

A polluted spouse can easily deceive an inexperienced mate and Christian leaders who try to save the marriage. That’s why the solutions for “showing mercy with fear” must include opening our eyes to recognize the many facets of clustered love sins.

Before We Divorce

We must perfect the techniques for dealing with Type 1 and 2 sexless spouses before advancing to fight the hardcore career sexual-depriver. The third level frequently ends in divorce, and rightly so. But before we divorce, we need to use all the weapons God provides in an effort to save our marriage.

The bad advice some spiritual leaders give to go home and be submissive and try harder to arouse the unloving spouse must stop. Such admonitions give sin a free reign and are guaranteed to take the marriage into the second and third stages of sexless marriage toward either physical or emotional divorce.

Please see my article What a Dying Fly Teaches Us About Miserable Marriages.

If you follow through on these articles about sexless marriages, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the sins in sexless marriages and dead bedrooms no matter whose home they’re in—yours, people you’re trying to teach, or Christians you counsel as a spiritual leader. And you'll be changing the quality of life for the children and their children. Emotional damage in children is often seen as early as 2-years-old.

The World Doesn’t Have the Answers

Bible recommendation horizonal largeFortunately, God freely gives Christians what the world is seeking. But too many Christians don’t know how to accept God’s gift of a wonderful passionate love life that envelopes their children in emotional stability and successful marriages of their own.

May God bless us in our journey to bring true love into our homes to bless our children. May he bring us into his marvelous light and love that we might be bright beacons for the world who desperately searches the Internet for answers. To God be the glory forever and ever as we celebrate his love for us and our children.

Patsy Rae Dawson is a marriage, sex, and divorce coach. She works with clients who have tried almost everything to save their sexless marriage without much success. A dead bedroom is only one symptom of 24/7 clustered love sins. Patsy helps clients get to the core issues in their sexless marriage so they can make healthy decisions for themselves and their children.

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The Song of Solomon Love Triangle
God's People Make the Best Lovers
God's People Appreciate Marriage
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Challenges in Marriage: What to Do when Sin Inhibits Love
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